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Morning Coffee: McDavid, MacKinnon set to meet in a battle of the NHL’s Best

Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse - The Canadian Press

The March Madness Elite Eight gave us the most bet game in the history of women’s college basketball.

Caitlin Clark, a 22-year-old senior from West Des Moines, led the Iowa Hawkeyes to a 94-87 win over the LSU Tigers in the most watched women’s college basketball game on record.

Tonight, Clark will attempt to steal the spotlight once again with a chance to lead Iowa to a national title game as a 2.5-point favourite versus UCONN.

It’s nights like these when a second screen is a must.

While the March Madness Final Four will get the big screen treatment, I’ll also have an eye on one of the most highly anticipated games of the NHL season to date.


Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Nikita Kucherov have delivered the best Hart Trophy and Art Trophy races in recent memory this season.

Tonight, McDavid and MacKinnon will go head-to-head in a showdown between two of the league’s elite talents.

It’s a strange coincidence that with two of the NHL’s biggest superstars set to share the ice, all anybody wants to talk about this morning is the 22-year-old college basketball star from West Des Moines.

And I’m here for it.

With so much to look forward to on an absolutely loaded Friday night sports slate, who’s got it better than us?

This is the Morning Coffee for Friday, April 5th, 2024.

McDavid, MacKinnon Set To Meet In A Battle Of The NHL’s Best

Less than 72 hours ago, McDavid, MacKinnon, and Kucherov were all within a single point of one another at the top of the NHL scoring race.

Three days later, McDavid is four points back of MacKinnon and seven points back of Kucherov for the league lead.


After a remarkable run to claw his way back into the Art Ross Trophy conversation, McDavid has a tall order in front of him once again if he’s going to win another scoring title this season.

The good news is that he has two games in hand on both of Kucherov and MacKinnon.

The bad news is that neither one of his fellow superstars seems interested in slowing down the rest of the way.

Kucherov scored his 43rd goal of the season as part of a three-point night as the Tampa Bay Lightning inched closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 7-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

With three-point games on back-to-back nights, Kucherov is up to 133 points in 75 games this season – three points clear of MacKinnon for the most in the NHL.

MacKinnon managed to keep pace on Thursday with a goal and three points as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2.

Tampa Bay and Colorado each have six games remaining.

Edmonton has eight games left, which means McDavid has two games in hand on his competition for the Art Ross Trophy.

Is that enough to make up the seven-point gap behind Kucherov?

A signature performance against the Avalanche tonight opposite MacKinnon would certainly be a good start.

The Oilers are currently a -126 home favourite for tonight’s showdown with Colorado.

The Avalanche are +105 on the moneyline.


When these teams met on March 16th, McDavid was held without a point and was a minus-two despite five shots on goal in a 3-2 loss in overtime.

I’ll bet that he will be motivated for a little redemption tonight on home ice.

With two meetings remaining on the regular season schedule, how McDavid and MacKinnon produce when they go head-to-head will factor heavily into whether either one of them can catch Kucherov in the Art Ross Trophy race.

These games will also have significant implications for both teams in the standings.

The Avalanche are three points back of the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division and are +450 to win their division at FanDuel.

If the playoffs started this morning, Colorado would face the Winnipeg Jets in the first round in a battle between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds from the Central Division.

Meanwhile, the Oilers are seven points back of the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division with two games in hand.

Edmonton is +490 to win the Pacific Division at FanDuel.

If they can’t catch Vancouver, the Oilers will play either the Vegas Golden Knights or the Los Angeles Kings in a battle between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Pacific.

There’s a lot left to be determined in the NHL standings over the next two weeks.

Regardless of where they are in the standings, the Avalanche (+340) and Oilers (+420) are the top two choices to win the Western Conference at FanDuel.

They’re also among the top-five choices to win the Stanley Cup.

In case you’re wondering, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers are now co-favourites to win it all at +700 odds at FanDuel.

Colorado is +800 to win the Stanley Cup, followed by Dallas at +850 and Edmonton at +900.


At this point, it wouldn’t surprise anybody if the Avalanche and Oilers meet again in a rematch of the 2022 Western Conference Finals.

First, we need to find out where they will finish in the regular season standings.

We also need to find out whether either McDavid or MacKinnon have one final push in them to challenge Kucherov for the Art Ross Trophy.

It’s also worth pointing out that same group is currently the obvious top-three choices to win the Hart Trophy at FanDuel.

However, you will find them lined up in a different order in this market.

MacKinnon is the heavy favourite to win the Hart Trophy at -380 odds.

Kucherov is the second choice at +400.

McDavid is +800 to win the Hart Trophy.

Will we see another shake up at the top of the Hart Trophy futures market?

If McDavid passes MacKinnon in the Art Trophy race, the Oilers win both head-to-head meetings with the Avalanche, and the two teams finish within proximity of one another in the standings, it’s not out the realm of possibilities.

Still, MacKinnon remains the clear top choice at FanDuel.

With so much to look forward to tonight, I figured it made sense to add one more reason to get excited.

Here’s my FanDuel Best Bet: MacKinnon 4+ shots on goal and McDavid 3+ shots on goal in a FanDuel Same Game Parlay at even-money.

The stage is set for both superstars to put on a show.

Sure, neither one of them might not be able to match the brilliance of Clark in the Final Four game.

Hopefully, they can fire enough shots on goal to cash the FanDuel Best Bet for one of the most highly anticipated games of the NHL regular season.